Double main event highlights L.A. show
The card and conjecture for tonight's SummerSlam pay per view and another world title change in TNA are among our headline items this week in the world of professional wrestling.
Tonight's sold out SS event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles features a double main event with John Cena defending the WWE championship against upstart Daniel Bryan, an indy legend who first catapulted to prominence a dozen years ago in LA when he captured the King of the Indies Tournament out there on the left coast, and a grudge bout between another former indy sensation, C.M. Punk, and Brock Lesnar that now has Triple H serving as guest referee.
Bryan, who was trained originally by Shawn Michaels and made a name for himself wrestling all over the world as Bryan Danielson before eventually landing in WWE, is a consummate mat technician who many fans consider one of, if not the very best in the world at the art of wrestling. He had to go with a goat beard and a "Yes" chant before getting to this spot as an entertainer, but has been allowed during the promotion of this bout to point to his exceptional wrestling prowess and claim superiority over Cena as a grappler.
Rumors of Cena needing elbow surgery have many fans thinking a title change could well be in the offing tonight. While the Punk-Lesnar feud has been largely based upon the Punk-Heyman relationship disintegrating, no matter who wins the match, we could well soon get a Punk title chase of Bryan that would pit two foes who have had some great encounters going back to their indy days with Ring of Honor.
Brad Wyatt faces Kane in a Ring of Fire match that comes about after unsuccessful efforts by Wyatt to recruit Kane into his family. RVD, whose comeback seems to have lost some of its early momentum, challenges Dean Ambrose for the United States championship during the hour long pre-show. Brie Bella and Natalya play off their Total Divas turmoil when they square off at SS, and Kaitlyn teams with Dolph Ziggler to battle A.J. Lee and Big E Langston in mixed tag team action.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes will mix it up in a showdown between Rhodes Scholars. A seemingly resurgent Christian tries to beat Alberto Del Rio a third time, this time with the world title on the line, in another featured contest. This looks like a decent show on paper, but not an exceptional one and there does not seem to be as much buzz around SummerSlam as there has been in past years.
Our friend Mick Foley will be doing his storytelling comedy to a sold-out audience at the infamous Los Angeles Improv an hour and a half after SummerSlam ends. Keep in mind, there is the three-hour time difference on the West Coast, so the start of his show is at 9:30p.m. out there, with SS ending by 8 p.m. Pacific.
Bully Ray regained the TNA heavyweight championship at Hardcore Justice this past Thursday on a live and free edition of Impact. He defeated and ended the brief reign of Chris Sabin inside a steel cage after some outside interference by MMA star Tito Ortiz that served as a significant distraction. Bobby Roode won a tables match over Magnus and Samoa Joe, while Frankie Kazarian emerged victorious in a four-way ladder affair that included A.J. Styles, Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy.
Shawn Michaels was scheduled to appear at Cabela's store in Hamburg yesterday morning to sign autographs, before heading out to LA for SummerSlam. Other commitments prevented the Insider from returning to the fair city to pursue a potential interview with the self-proclaimed "Showstopper".
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week with The Insider.)